With 10 years in the NFL, nine with the Eagles, Bobby Taylor's career far exceeded the length of an average player.
And as a strategic advisor in the league's football operations department, as well as a board member of the NFL Legends' Youth Advisory Committee, the former Pro Bowl cornerback is still going above and beyond to help grow the game.
"When you look at the different spaces," Taylor says, "the youth space is the largest space because you have millions of kids all over the country that are already playing football of some type. Whether it's tackle football, whether it's 7-on-7, whether it's flag, to be able to sit on the front line and try to help carve out policy, it's just been great."
Taylor is now also using his skill set, experiences, and passion to benefit the game as an NFL Flag Football League operator.
"I just thought it'd be an awesome opportunity, especially where I'm located here in Texas. I mean, football is kind of like religion to a lot of folks. Plus, I have three boys. My oldest (Bobby) is 18, but then I have a 9-year-old (Alexander) and a 5-year-old (Asher), and they would see me looking through some of the different proposals, some of the different catalogs, and was like, 'Dad, I want to be a part of that.' Just from the uniforms, you know how younger kids are, they saw that and said, 'I want one of those.'
"So I've had pressure from myself, but then I also had internal pressure inside of my household, as well. And so that was definitely the final straw that made me say, 'Hey, let's go ahead and get involved.'"
TD (Taylor District) NFL Flag is starting off with two leagues. One in San Antonio, which has 30 teams, and the other in Taylor's hometown of Longview, which has 24 teams. Playing double-headers, a 12-game season over six weeks, each team ranges in size of seven to 10 boys and girls, ages 5 to 14.
"We probably have a combined 500 kids," Taylor says. "We set a goal for 150 per league, so we've surpassed that and we hope to just grow more and more from that."
And it's only the beginning.
"We had a university reach out to us, 'Hey, we see and hear about some of the things you're doing. Would you be interested in possibly running an NFL Flag League on our campus where we can have these kids come play games here?' To receive a call like that, we were like, 'Heck, yeah.' So it's been a lot of energy, a lot of folks are excited about it. And I think just to give the opportunity to grow the game and grow it the right way, it's awesome," Taylor says.
"Another thing I think is great is there are opportunities for young ladies now to get scholarships to go to college by playing flag football. We have two co-ed leagues, but in the summer, we plan on having an all-ladies league. They deserve it. We want to be able to be as inclusive as possible. And we're excited about that, as well."
Taylor is also excited about expanding his district with league-approved territories in Richmond, Missouri City, and another location in San Antonio.
"My goal is for us to be one of the, if not the top, league operators in the state of Texas," Taylor says. "Those are lofty goals, but this is something that I've pretty much done all my life from a football perspective. I know a lot of the ins and outs. And so when we're going in and doing these leagues, sometimes these parents have kids that are in high school who may need a mentor to talk to them about deciding where they want to go to college, and things like that."
What does it feel like for Taylor to give back to his roots?
"I think you can never do enough. Because my journey, it took a village to raise me. My parents did a great job. My grandparents did a great job. My church community back in Longview, Galilee Baptist Church, they did a good job. I've had a lot of youth coaches that have been inspirational in my life. Coaches, teachers, and a lot of them I still stay in contact with today," says Taylor, who makes his home in Richmond with his wife, Michelle, and their sons: Bobby, a freshman defensive back at Texas A&M, Alexander, and Asher.
"To be able to come from where I come from and be able to have this type of opportunity – because I told the parents and the kids when we did our initial orientations, 'Man, I wish I had this when I was coming up.' – I'm just happy to be able to do my part, to be in the position that I'm in, consulting with the league, being a former player, and just being able to love on a lot of these kids and parents in the areas that I grew up in. It just makes me feel good."